A Bad News and Good News Post

A Bad News and Good News Post

Greetings all,

The Journals of Bob Drifter Front CoverI’m a bad news (sort of) up front kind of guy. When I woke up today, I saw a one-star review for The Journals of Bob Drifter.  You can see that here.  You can’t please them all. Still, I’m truly grateful the reviewer took the time to offer not just a rating, but a line of review. Any review is a good review. This reader 1) purchased my book, which supported me; 2) rated my books, which helped my visibility; and 3) left a review, which also helped with my visibility.

To any who might feel compelled to defend me, please don’t. I truly mean that. I ask every reader to offer a review, even if they hate it. It is helpful, and it is kind to leave a review, even if that review doesn’t sing my praises.

Sojourn_Ebook_CoverSo not only is that news not really bad at all, but there is good news. I’m happy to announce that the audiobook for Sojourn in Despair is pretty much undergoing editing as we speak.  Courtney Sanello was selected to narrate the book, and I’m eager to see how she takes her fantastic audition and converts it into a full audiobook. She’s already submitted the first fifteen minutes, and I honestly think she’s about wrapped up with the rest pending my notes on the first fifteen.

Since I’m just posting some updates, AwesomeCon is next week, and I’ll be there with Steven D’Adamo and Jessie Gutierrez from Red String Paper Cuts. I’m stoked to see how the new titles (two new books from their point of view), do. I’m also thrilled to market alongside two friends. I’ve read Steven’s book, and I’m hoping it does well at the convention too.

Those are some bits of news from my neck of the woods. I’m always happy to share with readers. You all really do make this dream of mine possible.

Thank you, always, for reading,

V/R
Matt

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Cover Reveal! Smoke and Mirrors by C.L. Schneider

Cover Reveal! Smoke and Mirrors by C.L. Schneider

Greetings all,

C. L. SchneiderIf you’ve been following my blog for long, you’ll know that Cindy (C.L. Schneider) is a dear friend of mine who has been incredibly supportive. Today I have the distinct privilege to offer her my support.

Her Nite Fire series has a new edition, and I get to show you all the cover!  I read Flash Point, and you can see my review for that here. As I usually do, I’ll wait for the saga to end before I jump on any other books in that series (unless the audio books come out when I have a credit or two). But I am excited to see where the series goes.

Without further delay, I present to you the cover for Smoke and Mirrors, the third book in the Nite Fire saga.

Smoke Mirrors FINAL

 

I love the color of this image. Backs of heads are usually a no-no in the image business, but given the cool dragon in the mirror, it works. The warm of Dahlia’s hair (the fire is so well done) contrasts perfectly with the cooler surrounding colors.

Here’s the cover blurb:

Secrets are a dragon’s best friend. Deception is a close second. Both provide a sturdy armor, allowing half-dragon shapeshifter, Dahlia Nite, to live undetected among the humans. Walking in two worlds, belonging in neither, she wraps herself in a shroud of lies to hide in plain sight. But nothing stays hidden forever.

When dismembered bodies of multiple species are dumped on the riverbank, the case falls to Dahlia and Detective Alex Creed. Backed by Sentinel City’s new task force, the pair find themselves urged along by clues that seem too good to be true. Bouncing from one crime scene to the next, they hunt for a clear motive in a murky sea of conflicting evidence. Already on edge from the recent string of unexplained crimes, the city begins to unravel.

Drowning in missing creatures, slaughtered remains, masked men—and the search for her sidekick’s missing sister—Dahlia burns the candle at both ends. Seeking answers, she employs her empathic abilities, and uncovers something deeper and more sinister than a simple serial killer’s web. As the dots connect, and worlds collide, she struggles to shields her friends from the truth. But secrets can be deadly. And Dahlia’s not the only one who keeps them.

Smoke and Mirrors is scheduled to be released in May of 2019. So if you’re interested, and you want to catch up, you have plenty of time (especially since book one is on Audible).

Cindy truly is an amazing author, and I’d recommend her book to just about any fan of fantasy, but her books are best suited for fans of dark fantasy with some steam (if you catch my meaning).  She doesn’t get graphic though.

Please check out her work; you’ll be glad you did.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Reviews Make Authors Happy!

Book Reviews Make Authors Happy!

Greetings all,

I get to share a few reviews with you all today, and I don’t know that I’ll ever get tired of that.

caught-front-coverThe first is an extensive four-star review on Goodreads for Caught. J.M. actually has a Twitter account in which she does these super awesome book-quote pictures. It’s a clever idea, and I encourage you to give her a follow. I saw a quote from Caught and realized she was reading it. It was a thrill to see those, and this review is everything an author could ask for: praise for things she liked and honest clarification on what she didn’t like.

Next there is a new five-star review for The Power of Words.  The last two reviews were from the same individual.

 

Sojourn_Ebook_CoverThe next (and final) review was special because it’s the first review for Sojourn in Captivity.  It’s nice to start off on a strong note, and you can’t get better than a five-star review.

I’m always thrilled to see feedback, and it’s that much sweeter when it’s positive. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask you to consider leaving a rating and review if you’ve ready any of my work. Even if you hated it, I still value the feedback. If you haven’t tried any of my books yet, I hope these reviews motivate you to give one (or all) a chance.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

Book Review: Living the Good Death by Scott Baron

Book Review: Living the Good Death by Scott Baron

This book was my 2018 November Book Cover of the Month.

Living the Good DeathSpoiler Free Summary:  Living the Good Death by Scott Baron is about a young woman who truly believe she’s death. While the mental institution profiting off her “illness” wants to keep her around, she’s trying to get back to the spiritual world so she can get back to work. Then she meets a man. As her relationships in this world grow more powerful, she’s forced to decide if she really is crazy or not. Will she let go of her delusions to accept the life that’s opening up before her, or will she reject this world for a chance to return to the next.

Character:  The main character was solid. She’s proactive. She’s sympathetic. She’s a clever character with the right amount of vulnerability and sass. But I had some issues with the male love interest. He’s a single father, and he takes up this toxic relationship with a woman who may (and certainly appears to be) suicidal and unhinged. He’s doing this just when he’s about to get his daughter back after his own break. Personally, I could never reconcile that character issue. It didn’t make the book horrible by any means, but I kept getting frustrated with his arc because I couldn’t believe a man in his position would seek a relationship. Especially with a woman whom he had to work so hard just to date.

Exposition: This was great. Most of the plot unfolded naturally, and I really enjoyed the use of the scene (more on that) and the nature of the characters. It let what’s already a shorter book go by that much faster.

Scott BaronDialogue: This is where the sass of the main character really paid off. The dialogue was crisp and witty, just like I like it. The entertaining dialogue and comedy of the story sometimes clashed with the serious arc of the male love interest (see above).

Description:  I was happy with the description here. It wasn’t as visceral as it could have been, but for a story of this sort, I thought it was appropriate. The most visual description is in the character, which is what I tend to want.

Overall:  Even though some of the character decisions weren’t something I could swallow, this story has a lot of charm and humor. It’s a fast read with some pretty solid chuckle moments. If you want a quick read and you have a darker sense of humor, this might be right up your ally.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Sojourn in Captivity is Live! Here comes a

Sojourn in Captivity is Live! Here comes a

Greetings all,

Sojourn_Ebook_CoverThis is no April Fool’s joke; Sojourn is live and ready to be read! I’d like to thank those of you who preordered the book. It should automatically have landed in your Kindles.

As I said a few days ago, I’m very proud of this story. It’s unlike anything I’ve read or written before, and I think it does some interesting things in the scifi genre.

But, that’s not all! I wanted a way to provide people who like physical books to get stories, so what I’ve done is put Repressed and Sojourn in a paperback. I wanted to do a flip book, and after a week of struggling to find out how to make that work, Amazon told me I can’t do flip books :(.  Also, when you click the link, it will appear as if it’s just a physical copy of Repressed, but that’s because Amazon also wouldn’t let me name the book in such a way that indicates both titles. I suppose I could have designed a unique cover for both and named it for both, but I just didn’t think that would be timely. With AwesomeCon coming up, I wanted this book ready in time. I promise though, both books are in there.

Repressed_Sojourn_CoverI’m not that upset. I still have the two books in one volume, and I’ll still be able to add those titles to the others I sell at conventions. So if you’re more of a hands-on type of person, feel free to try it out. This book is $7.99, and I think that’s a pretty fair normal price for about 70,000 words of fun. As always, I’ll have deals for when I’m at conventions, but that will be the normal price for that edition.

As always, I’m stoked to see more and more books hitting the shelves (both digitally and physically). I hope you all give it a try. If you were one of those who preordered it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads or both.

Thank you again, all of you, for your support and encouragement. I look forward to all the new stories I have yet to share with you.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

4 Reasons Why You Need to Preorder Sojourn In Captivity

4 Reasons Why You Need to Preorder Sojourn In Captivity

Greetings all,

Sojourn_Ebook_CoverWith Sojourn in Captivity set to go live April 1, I wanted to just to take a few moments to talk about why I’m so proud of it. As I thought about it, I realized I was essentially identifying reasons I think people should give the book a try. That’s where the name came from.

  1. An alien main character: It’s always struck me as odd that there are so many scifi stories out there, but the main characters are always inevitably human. This made sense fifty years ago, when fiction still had a number of barriers to break, but I don’t see it now. In a generation where everyone is screaming for diversity, why aren’t there stories featuring truly alien characters. Yes, Elele has many human characteristics, but she’s obviously not human. This gave me so much to play with. It let me look at characters and events in a new way.
  2. The anti-female lead: I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m not actually a fan of YA. With Repressed, I tried a few different plot paths, but the story was perfect Kaitlyn because she’s so much of a “YA” girl. Strong. Sassy. Intelligent. So with Sojourn, I was really attracted to the idea because I knew where Elele was, and (more awesomely) I know where she is in Images of Truth. Her development is what interested me. But this story doesn’t start with some plucky, sassy, whit-mouthed character. Don’t get me wrong; those characters are fun, and they, like all characters, have an audience. But that’s not Elele. Elele is the spoiled, Daddy’s-Little-Girl genius of her planet. She’s never had to work hard for a thing in her life, and she’s completely unprepared for the adventure that awaits her (especially in Images of Truth). That growth, that development of character really interested me. I wanted readers to see just how she started. This makes watching her grow into the character she becomes in Images all the more powerful in my opinion.
  3. shepherdThe world building: I’ve been working on this for a long time now, and I felt like it was time to start playing in this universe. It’s huge. This planet and how the aliens interact with it are really cool.  If someone threw Avatar at me, I don’t know that I’d have a leg to stand on in a observational sense, but the themes and plot are unique. Did the movie influence me? Perhaps in a subconscious way, but I didn’t sit down determined to take those concepts. That said, yes, this is an alien race of beings who live in enormous trees. But that’s where, in my opinion, the similarity end.  The culture and religion of the cast is every bit as interesting to work with as the magic system/biological mutation.
  4. The first chapter: I’ve (arrogantly) always thought I’m a man who starts the story off in a fun way, but the chapters always sort of feel like stepping into water without being sure how deep it is. In this book, I chuck the reader into the deep end, and the result is an intense ride that I still enjoy even after umpteen drafts and proof readings. Now I’m just not smart enough to know my legal rights with KDP and other services, but I’m pretty sure a few-hundred words are authorized. On my Facebook page, I dared my friends to try the book and read the first chapter. I truly feel if that doesn’t hook you, then I probably need to reevaluate how effective I am at evaluating stories. I’m almost positive a whole chapter would get someone shouting at me, so I wanted to end this post with the first 300 words of the story. Like I do at any convention, I let a potential reader open and start reading. My heart is convinced that this is true: If I can get someone to read the first few pages, that person is going to end up reading the whole thing.  With that said, I present to you the first few pages of Sojourn in Captivity.

 

The Monster Born of My Father

Elelefinal

Fear causes me to tighten my grip on my father so much I’m not sure how he’s breathing. We’re one hour from Wieder, and I’m a hundred times more frightened than I was when we stepped aboard our transport flight north.

The rumbling engine and dim lights only add to my worries.

Why isn’t Father afraid? Why isn’t he terrified?

Achca’s faline, the ultraviolet pattern on his torso, flickers with nervousness. He clenches his fists, causing the dark skin of his knuckles to grow pale. He’s trying to be brave for our father.

I don’t want to be brave. I want to be comforted, and I want my brother to have comfort, too. I untangle an arm from Father so I can reach across the one-meter-wide aisle that separates my leather seat from Achca’s and grab my brother’s hand. After a moment, I’m not sure who’s gripping whom more tightly.

“All will be well,” Father says.

“I know, Father.” Achca pulls his hand away from mine, showing his nerves by fluttering his wings.

“How do you know?” I ask.

“You always want an explanation,” Achca says, impatiently.

“What good is my intelligence if I don’t use it to understand the universe?” Is he really going to argue with me now?

“I know,” Father says, interrupting what might have been my last argument with my brother before we both become monsters, “because I have faith in Adhol.”

And therein lies my problem. I wouldn’t be sitting here terrified if Adhol, our god, hadn’t summoned us for ascension. My father is the most faithful man on our home planet of Orlon. Anyone would be a distant second to him, but my desire to match his faith is overmatched by the fact that I don’t want to become a Var’lechen.

 

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Demonhome by Michael G. Manning

Book Review: Demonhome by Michael G. Manning

DomonhomeDemonhome is the final book of the Champions of the Dawning Dragons series, which is the third series in the Mageborn saga. My review for the first book in this series is here.  My review for book two is here.  My review for the earliest series (Embers of Illeniel) is here.  My review for the central series (Mageborn) is here. This book was also my 2018 October Book Cover of the Month. 

Spoiler Free Summary:  Matthew Illeniel is the first wizard in his family to possess the true genetic heritage of his namesake. Using his strange ability to travel between worlds, he goes to another world to seek out the strange new mechanical enemies who plague not only his time, but were the an ancient enemy of the alien race. (I can’t spell their name correctly, and I can’t find their name in the time I have). Matthew must survive in a world that’s been taught to fear and hate magic of any kind. And that fear will lead to a stronger enemy his world might not be able to beat.

Character:  I like Matthew. He’s not as great a character as Moria, but he is fun. I think he’s a far more effective supporting character than a main character. I feel this way because he doesn’t actually have a lot of conflict in his life. He’s accepting of his status and goals. He’s confident in his abilities. It’s awesome seeing him work, but he’s too powerful and content for me to really connect with him as a character. That said, he is still a great character (just not as great).  His impulsive nature gets him into some tense situations, and his intuitive creativity (an obvious trait from his father) is fun to watch. No, I’m not worried about him, but it is a lot of fun watching him get out of the situations he’s in. It feels a bit like watching an episode of Doctor Who. I know he’s gonna live, but I don’t know how.

Exposition: This probably had more exposition than a normal Manning book, but I attribute that to the fact that we’re introduced to an entirely new reality. He still does this masterfully, he just had to orient his readers to this new area. More often than not, he let’s Matthew’s ignorance give us the comedy and understanding the reader would need.

Dialogue: Maybe not Manning’s best skill, but the dialogue is still far better than other stories. The thing that impressed me is that in a book like this, I’d have expected a lot of the dialogue to be thinly-veiled exposition, and there was a lot of that, but the bulk of the dialogue drives into character and personality. Part of the struggle is that these characters are young, so a lot of the topics are melodramatic.

Description:  As always, Manning’s work is visceral.  Description played more of a role in this story, and Manning upped his game accordingly. There are some cool things that happen here, and his style and timing really allowed this part of the story to sing.

Overall:  I think this story started of slow. I fought through the first ten percent of the book because of how much I love the series. However, once I hit the fifteen-percent mark, I was excited to see where it was going. This is amplified by how much I like the series, but it was a satisfying conclusion to this trilogy. It also set up the next series well. Fans of the whole series will like it much more than newcomers.  This book got me excited for the next set of books.

Thanks for reading

Matt